Best dark chocolate 2022: Get your chocolate fix with these darkly decadent cocoa treats
Dark chocolate – the most intense, and some would say the most sophisticated cousin of traditional milk chocolate – is worth doing well. It might not be everyone’s choice, but if you’re ready to go to the dark side, it’s worth shopping around for the best dark chocolate you can find. Now is not the time to snack at the corner store. While good dark chocolate has character, smoothness and richness, poorly made versions can be unpleasantly bitter, waxy or gritty and leave you feeling like you’ve been wronged by your chocolate.
The beauty of dark chocolate is the higher cocoa percentage – typically 50-100% – combined with a lower sugar content, allowing the true profile of the cocoa beans to shine through. Your taste buds can pick up surprising, intense flavors – fruit, floral, nutty or smoky – rather than being bombarded with sweetness like with your regular on-the-go chocolate bar. All that flavor often means a few squares are enough, so let’s make sure those few squares are really good.
Best dark chocolate: In a nutshell
How to choose the best dark chocolate for you
How far do you want to go?
There is dark chocolate and then there is dark chocolate. While dark chocolate in the UK can contain anything from 50% cocoa solids, we recommend looking for something with at least 70% so you can enjoy all those deliciously nuanced notes that come from good beans. If you’ve never tried anything 100%, it’s worth getting some (we recommend Montezuma’s or Hotel Chocolat) just to see for yourself how the character of chocolate is so easily changed with additions of milk, sugar and flavorings.
And speaking of flavors, do you want them in your chocolate? Purists might enjoy their no-frills dark chocolate, but in our testing we admit to being thoroughly wowed by all of the chocolatiers’ imaginative flavor pairings – from subtle salt crystals to exotic citrus ganache – and we hope you too.
How much should you spend?
Paying cocoa farmers a fair price has a cost, but it’s a cost we should all be willing to pay for our bars of good stuff. Fully traceable chocolate – down to the single-origin bean – also means you’ll pay a slight premium. Generally you should expect to spend £3-5 on a bar, while artisan chocolates will be more expensive as you are also paying for the chocolatier’s hard work in developing and decorating. We think it’s worth it, though.
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The best dark chocolate to buy in 2022
1. FATSO Nan’s Stash: The Best Thick Dark Chocolate
Price: £6 for 150g | Buy now at SO FATSO
This cheeky dark chocolate bar has some serious credentials: it’s made with 70% fino de aroma certified single-origin cocoa and ethically sourced from Colombia, but that’s where the seriousness ends. FATSO was created as an antidote to the often hairy image of posh dark chocolate and the bars are meant to be devoured rather than savored; we are happy to oblige. Nan’s Stash is a deliciously rich, slightly creamy chunky chocolate slab infused with crunchy peanuts, hard caramel chunks and buttery digestives to make a fabulously indulgent snack. If Nan’s Stash isn’t floating on your boat, check out FATSO’s other flavors, like the breakfast-inspired Morn’N Glory: cornflakes, toast, and marmalade fortified with 60% Colombian flavors.
2. Love Cocoa Maldon Sea Salt Dark Chocolate 70%: The best salty dark chocolate
Price: £5 for 75g | Buy now on Amazon
You would expect the great-great-great-grandson of the first Mr. Cadbury to know a little about chocolate making and, luckily for us, he does. Luckily, too, he pays cocoa farmers fairly for their valuable wares through his ethical British chocolate brand Love Cocoa, unlike many big-name confectioners. Other than that, this single-origin 70% dark chocolate is exceptionally tasty; a deep, dark, luxurious tasting bar with an expensive feel, and just the right thickness to slowly melt in your mouth.
We love the sweet fruitiness of this one, which is enhanced by the bright flavor of hand-harvested Maldon sea salt flakes (they deliberately chose the famous Essex salt instead of stuff from the Himalaya for the carbon footprint) which should delight lovers of natural chocolate and adventurous palates. Alternatively, try the very pungent Gin and Tonic Dark or the intriguing Avocado Dark. All Love Cocoa chocolate uses palm oil free ingredients from sustainable sources, the packaging is plastic free and every bar purchased means a tree is planted in Eastern Kenya. It’s good, it feels good – and it’s even better with a glass of red.
Shop now at Love Cocoa
3. Chococo Medium Dark Chocolate Selection Box: The Best Dark Chocolate Selection Box
Price: £19 for 16 | Buy now at Chococo
We have long been fans of Chococo, a fresh chocolate company based in Dorset. The husband and wife team make phenomenal artisan chocolates in a dizzying array of flavors and shapes, using hyper-local ingredients such as Black Cow vodka from Dorset and crème fraîche from nearby farms. They make all kinds, but its current Medium Dark Selection Box is a tempting treasure trove of 16 imaginative flavors of finely-decorated and packaged fine-origin chocolates and truffles.
This box contains several of its award-winning flavors and seasonal limited editions. All chocolates are free of additives and preservatives and have a short shelf life due to their freshness, so you’ll have to eat quickly – what a pity.
4. Crosstown Yuzu Passion Fruit Chocolate: The best filled dark chocolate
Price: £6 for 100g | Buy now at Crosstown
You might know Crosstown for its award-winning gourmet donuts, but the brand’s new foray into chocolate seems to be just as wonderfully indulgent as anything out of the bakery. Inspired by favorite toppings and ingredients used in beignets, we fell for the combination of passion fruit and dark chocolate filled with yuzu ganache.
This thick, comforting bar is made from Crosstown’s fine 72% dark chocolate, which is perfectly complemented by the zesty, zesty contrast of Japanese citrus and the tropical flavor of passion fruit.